NEW YORK – In the days leading up to the MLS SuperDraft, English midfielder John Rooney confessed that fans were mistaken if they thought he supported Manchester United because his brother, Wayne, plays there.
“I support Everton,” the New York Red Bulls draftee told MLSsoccer.com. “It will always be my team.”
Like his brother, Rooney started in the Everton youth system at the age of six and eventually latched on with Macclesfield Town when Everton did not sign him to a deal. He trained with another Merseyside club, Tranmere Rovers, in the lead-up to the MLS Player Combine.
He also considers Everton’s No. 10 playmaker – Spaniard Mikel Arteta – as his role model. The former Glasgow Rangers midfielder has been with the Toffees since the 2004-05 season.
“Arteta enjoys being on the ball and creates stuff,” Rooney said. “I like getting on the ball and making stuff happen.”
As an Everton fan, Rooney is also in touch with fan sentiment regarding LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan, who enjoyed a successful loan spell there in 2010.
Donovan declined a second consecutive offseason loan request in December, choosing instead to take a prolonged break ahead of the start of the LA Galaxy training camp.
“The fans wanted him to go back,” Rooney said. “The fans loved him.”
Rooney will now be hoping that he can replicate that same experience during his stay with the Red Bulls.